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Romanians hit by ban and Uefa fine over supporters' racist behaviour

By Graham Luney

Published 18/09/2015

New Don: Ryan McLaughlin wants an international return
New Don: Ryan McLaughlin wants an international return

Romania have been ordered to play their next Euro 2016 qualifier against Finland behind closed doors and the Hungary v Faroe Islands battle - also on October 8 - may suffer the same fate.

Uefa have fined Romania's national football federation (FRF) for racist behaviour by supporters earlier this month.

The fine of €110,000 (£80,000) followed crowd trouble in games against Hungary and Greece.

Fans in Budapest disrespected the Hungarian anthem, let off flares and clashed with rival fans.

Northern Ireland are one point clear of Romania in Group F and four ahead of Hungary ahead of a home match with Greece and a trip to Finland next month.

Two points from games against Greece and Finland will see Michael O'Neill's team seal qualification while Hungary must win both their remaining games to have a chance of an automatic place at the finals in France next summer.

While Romania and Finland must battle in an empty stadium there is speculation Hungary may be hit with the same sanction, though there has to date been no official confirmation from Uefa.

Any punishments handed down will provide a timely boost for Northern Ireland who are on the brink of qualifying for the Euro finals for the first time.

Meanwhile, Liverpool full-back Ryan McLaughlin, who has sealed a loan move to Aberdeen, hopes his switch to the Dons will help reignite his international prospects.

"I know Niall McGinn from the squad and he was telling me about Aberdeen being a great club with great history," said the 20-year-old.

"Niall told me I'd love it here and as soon as I heard they were interested in taking me on loan I was here the next day.

"One of the reasons why I went to Aberdeen was to try and get first-team games and put myself in the spotlight for international football.

"Northern Ireland are in a good position to qualify for the finals and that's another reason why I want to impress at Aberdeen.

"I'm sure Michael O'Neill, who knows a lot about Scottish football, will be getting plenty of feedback from the games."

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